Jordi Cruyff resigns as Ecuador coach without taking charge of team

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Jordi Cruyff unveiled as Ecuador new coach - Ecuador National Team Headquarters, Quito, Ecuador - January 13, 2020 Ecuador new coach Jordi Cruyff during press conference REUTERS/Daniel Tapia

(Reuters) - Jordi Cruyff has resigned as Ecuador coach without visiting the country or working with the team seven months after being appointed.

The former Barcelona and Manchester United midfielder had delayed travelling to take on his new position because of the COVID-19 pandemic but was supposed to eventually arrive last week.

However, he asked for more time to reflect on the job, prompting the Ecuadorian football federation to ask him to quit.

“We are almost three months away from the start of World Cup qualifying. It is a short time to re-organise and work on a successor,” said a football federation statement.

“It is our priority that whoever take over can assure continuity to the national team’s plan that allows us to achieve our objective of qualifying for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.”

Ecuador’s first qualifying match is against Argentina in October.

The 46-year-old Cruyff, son of footballing great Johan, had signed a three year contract. He has previous coaching experience in China, Cyprus, Israel and Malta.

Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Christian Radnedge